This post about easy meals to make on your family vacation is sponsored by Dream Dinners. All opinions are my own.
“Taking a vacation” took on a whole new meaning once I had kids. So much work! stuff! money! planning! meltdowns! public restrooms! More than once I have vowed, “WE ARE NEVER GOING ON VACATION TOGETHER AGAIN!” at the height of my family vacation desperation.
But I didn’t give up. Instead, I focused on which aspects of our trip stressed me (or us) out the most. One of the biggies: meals. Three times a day, we all need to eat. If the right food isn’t at hand, we all get hangry. Trust me when I say, nobody wants that.
There has to be a better way
The usual options—eating out, dining in, meal plans, etc.—each have their pros and cons. After experimenting and learning on many trips with our children (as babies, toddlers, big kids, tweens), I finally landed on the best way to feed our family on vacation. Drumroll, please …
Stay someplace that has a kitchen, and bring prepped, frozen, and ready-to-cook Dream Dinners along for the trip.
No shopping for every ingredient at some unfamiliar grocery store, when you’re exhausted from traveling and just want to have some fun already (or maybe a nap).
No driving around looking for a restaurant that you, your partner, and your kids will like, doesn’t cost a fortune, and has tables available.
No eating out of the hotel vending machine or ordering obscenely overpriced room service out of sheer desperation.
You simply arrive at your destination, put the Dream Dinners in the fridge, and start enjoying your family vacation.
Easy meals to pack and go
We tried this solution for our most recent vacation, when we spent a week staying in one of the cozy cabins at Pipestem Resort in West Virginia. I knew our cabin had a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a dining table and chairs. So I loaded up a cooler in the back of the Mystery Machine with a heap of Dream Dinners, plus additional condiments and staples we would need throughout the week.
Can I tell you? Never once did I have to go to a grocery store. We only ate “out” once a day at the most. And our family enjoyed at least one delicious, no-stress meal each day of our vacation. Neither parent had the burden of the usual meal-planning, shopping, and prep. The kids had fewer transitions and waiting to endure. It was just so dang peaceful and lovely.
One thing I will mention: We drove to West Virginia, and it was only about 6.5 hours door-to-door. Keeping the already frozen food cold in coolers with ice packs was no problem. If you’re driving longer distances, take that into account to make sure your Dream Dinners stay cold enough until you get where you’re going. Also, find out before you go if the kitchen is stocked with utensils, dishes, pots and pans. If not, you might have to pack a few basics in order to cook the meals.
Even if you’re flying, I would still recommend getting a place with a kitchen and bringing your Dream Dinners. It’s that convenient and awesome! Ship the meals in dry ice, bring a cooler as your carry-on, whatever it takes. You will not regret it!